With so many of their peers removing themselves from the mating scene (and with males now a shrinking minority on the campuses that were once their domain), the hyper-masculine college student can avail himself of as many women as he can juggle.
One administrator at the University of Richmond comments on the young men in his program, “[I]t’s really hard for them to be vulnerable. It runs counter to the narrative of ‘be a man, be tough.’” He further criticizes such notions as “man up,” which “can whiplash into aggression and other unruliness.”
Well, such a man in that situation would be, in fact, rescuing a damsel in distress. And that’s a good thing. This doesn’t mean a decent masculinity is limited to rescuing damsels in distress, but rescuing said damsels is in the category of “doing the right thing”—and something that is instinctual in a healthy male. Aggressively defending the weak from predators is not the same as conducting one’s business affairs ethically—also an example of doing the right thing. Many of the problems with the Weinstein case is precisely that the men (and women) around these predators didn’t rescue the damsels in distress; these betas submitted to the alpha male in the unnatural environment of Hollywood.
While the diagnosis of this sexual anarchy may be realistic, the remedy is not.
The left perceives these programs as coddling a male demographic that already experiences too much privilege. Many on the right see them as an attack on masculinity; this conservative critique of the treatment of men goes back at least to Christina Hoff Sommers’s 2000 book The War on Boys.
In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo, increased public attention to sexual harassment, and the growing debate about due process rights of the accused, how are young men to navigate the sexual minefield that exists on many campuses and emerge as neither a lout nor a loner?
The consensus opinion of the academic establishment is predictable: the concept of traditional Western masculinity must go. Contemporary university campuses are linking the supposedly hyper-masculine behavior of Weinstein and his ilk to the struggles of many young men to succeed in higher education. Some are implementing programs to counter what they call “toxic masculinity.” From The Chronicle of Higher Education:
People are not elephants, but the same dynamic has been observed in hunter-gatherer tribes and modern societies with healthier social structures than ours.
This categorization is frequently applied—or misapplied—to human males. The aggressive, swaggering, and occasionally threatening behavior of “alphas” is roundly condemned in academia, even though many young women find it desirable and some young men find it admirable.
By releasing healthy, decent masculinity from its radical feminist chains—and populating the campus with tough-but-wise bull elephants—the problem of “toxic masculinity” may find its historic and effective antidote.